Ann J. Chambers Land, 77; was on Council

Posted: March 12, 2010

Ann J. Chambers Land, 77, who represented the Fourth District on Philadelphia City Council for a decade before being unseated by Michael Nutter, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Tuesday at home in Sea Isle City.

Mrs. Land won a special election in 1980 to fill the position on City Council vacated by George X. Schwartz, who had been nabbed in the federal sting known as Abscam.

The Fourth District included Mrs. Land's longtime neighborhood of East Falls, plus Roxborough, Manayunk, West Mount Airy, and parts of West and North Philadelphia.

Councilwoman Joan L. Krajewski, who was also elected in 1980, recalled that Mrs. Land worked hard for her constituents and was the kind of politician who "walked among the people."

Krajewski and Mrs. Land were dubbed the "Boom Boom Sisters" in 1987 by Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez when he learned they played the slot machines in Las Vegas while attending a National League of Cities convention.

"We laughed at it," Krajewski said.

One of Mrs. Land's three daughters, Susan Pownall, said that when her mother was on Council, people would stop and tell her "the things Mom did for them, such as getting 'Watch Children' signs placed on their street or helping them with problems in their neighborhood."

Mrs. Land campaigned twice for her seat against Nutter. She won in 1987 but lost to the future mayor four years later.

"I knew her from my earliest days in politics. She did her best to serve the public," Nutter said. "After I became city councilman, as time went on, she was complimentary about my service to the city on a couple of occasions.

"I am sad to learn of her passing," the mayor said.

A native of North Philadelphia, Mrs. Land became interested in politics while serving on the student council at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School, her family said.

After graduating in 1950, she was an office worker for area companies before her marriage in 1954 to John Land. He was a beverage distributor with a business in West Philadelphia.

While raising their five children, Mrs. Land became involved in Democratic politics. She was a Kennedy Girl, campaigning for John F. Kennedy, and became a committeewoman. In the late 1970s, she was elected leader of the 38th Ward.

Before becoming a councilwoman, Mrs. Land was state Senate librarian in Harrisburg for three years. After leaving Council, she was a community-relations specialist with Philadelphia Gas Works.

When they retired in 1996, Mrs. Land and her husband moved to their summer home in Sea Isle City. He died in 2004.

She enjoyed playing slots with friends at the Atlantic City casinos and visits from her grandchildren, her family said. She loved meeting people and staying busy, said another daughter, Ann Marie, and until last year, she was a desk clerk during the season at the Sea Isle Inn.

In addition to her daughters Susan and Ann Marie, Mrs. Land is survived by another daughter, Patti; a brother; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her son John died in 1989, and her son Robert died in 2004.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Clare McIlvaine Mundy Funeral Home, 7384 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Bridget Roman Catholic Church, 3673 Midvale Ave., Philadelphia. Burial will be in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.

Donations may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, One Valley Square, 512 Township Line Rd., Blue Bell, Pa. 19422.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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